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Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lawsuit: Denver sheriff's deputy ignored inmate's screams in attack

The Denver post

Denver sheriff's deputy ignored an inmate's blood-curdling screams and looked on with indifference as a group of fellow inmates brutally attacked him and scalded his genitals with hot water, the man's attorneys wrote in federal court filings filed this week.
Jamal Hunter says in the civil rights lawsuit that the deputy not only failed to protect him from the July 2011 attack but also facilitated and encouraged it. Video surveillance filed as part of the lawsuit shows the deputy, Gaynel Rumer, walking around the cell block in the Downtown Denver Detention Center without looking directly inside the cell where Hunter was being beaten.Court documents filed in federal court Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 claim a Denver sheriff's deputy knew about and facilitated the brutal beating and scalding of an inmate. (Video released via federal civil rights lawsuit)
The filings include testimony from several inmates who were in the cellblock at the time who said they are still haunted by the sounds of Hunter's prolonged screams.
Hunter said he was attacked after his cellmates accused him of snitching and insulting them behind their backs. He said they punched him, broke his nose, tied his legs and later burned his genitals with boiling water they got from a spigot to which inmates apparently had unfettered access.
The lawsuit says Rumer, who is still on the job after a 40-day suspension, knew Hunter would be assaulted because of his relationship with the attackers "and because he had previously allowed rampant fighting to occur so that inmates could address their conflicts."
Maj. Frank Gale, a department spokesman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.
"We've got to wait for our day in court," he said.
The latest details were contained in documents filed this week in connection with the lawsuit, which has been pending since 2012.
It was among the high-profile misconduct issues that shook the Denver sheriff's department in recent months. Among those who were deposed as part of the lawsuit was former Division Chief Michael Than, who abruptly resigned last month while facing his own misconduct allegations.
"Denver has to take responsibility for the grotesque and permanent injuries suffered by Jamal Hunter," Hunter's attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai said. "No one should have to go through the torture that Jamal experienced as a result of Denver's inability to ensure inmate safety. The pattern of abuse, injury, and death in the Denver jail must stop."

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